INDIANAPOLIS — A Facebook post by an Indiana state representative has drawn some scrutiny as some people believe it’s racist.
The Republic’s newsgathering partner, Indianapolis television station WISH-TV, reported Friday that the incident involved Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour commenting on a WISH-TV Facebook posting about Marquise Dozier.
Dozier pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of rape in Allen County, according to a WISH-TV report. DNA evidence at one crime scene connected him to a pair of unsolved rapes in Fort Wayne. Dozier was identified through his fingerprints and arrested, according to the television station. Dozier is facing 72 years behind bars.
Lucas commented on the WISH-TV story link by posting a photo of a noose.
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Lucas is not apologizing for the comment, according to WISH-TV. Lucas told the television station the comment was not about race, but another four-letter word which begins with “R” — rape, and his belief that people like Dozier should get the death penalty.
When it was pointed out that the subject of the story is African American and his photo is of a noose, Lucas told WISH-TV, “I didn’t see it that way. I see the subject as someone who committed rape.”
Lucas described the comment as “an easy call,” according to the television station, as Dozier has pleaded guilty to three rapes, including one where he threatened the woman with a brick, and was identified by DNA and fingerprints.
“To me, we don’t need people like that in society,” said Lucas. “This is a violent act committed against women and in my mind that rises to capital punishment.”
The television station said not everyone agreed with Lucas. One Facebook comment said “Jim Lucas — something is wrong with you — Shameful.”
The lawmaker acknowledges the evil and disturbing past of the noose and its connection to lynchings, but he said his picture has the exact same meaning as if he posted one of an electric chair or guillotine, the television station reported.
According to an image search, the photo with the comment was taken several years ago of the gallows at the courthouse in Tombstone Arizona where it’s a state historic park.
Lucas said he’s used the image countless times in the past.
“I keep it stocked. That’s probably the easiest one that I find to use that gets the point across.”
It’s a photo he said he would use regardless of race.
“Wouldn’t matter. Rape is rape. That’s a horrible offense,” he said. “I can’t help what people choose to make of something, other than to say there was no intention of racism. I’m the least racist person I know. That disgusts me.”
While he’s not thrilled that others see it differently, he’s not backing down or going to stop using it in the future, the television station reported.
“No, because the application hasn’t changed,” he said. “Keep it handy, keep using it.”
Lucas said he’d like to see capital punishment for murder, rape and other violent crimes against people where there’s clear evidence and due process even as innocent people behind bars in those same circumstances have been set free by new evidence, according to WISH-TV’s report.
Rep. Jim Lucas statement
Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, released the following statement as a social media post on The Republic’s Facebook page Friday afternoon:
“Given the surreal amount of coverage this non-story has received, heres my response in my words.
WISH-TV posted a story about a serial rapist that was caught after raping 3 women, one with a brick.
The authorities had DNA evidence, fingerprints from the crime scenes and a confession.
The rapist was black and confessed.
I posted this picture on the WISH Facebook post. It is a stock picture of the public gallows from the courthouse at Tombstone, AZ and is now a state historic park. It is the exact same picture I have used literally dozens of times for stories like this on multiple media sites and has never been an issue before.
I believe in public execution, by hanging, of murderers, child molesters and rapists after absolute proof of guilt in a jury trial of their peers and due process.
No matter what their color. Period.
I find it as sad as I do disgusting that the media has chosen to intentionally make this a race issue and further instigate the wedge of societal division by making news instead of just reporting it.”